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Exclusive: Japan, U.S. to set up 3 working groups

Tokyo, March 19 (Jiji Press)–Japan and the United States are seen agreeing to set up three working groups at a bilateral summit slated for April, Jiji Press learned Friday.

The groups are expected to cover the fields of emerging technologies, climate change, and novel coronavirus measures coupled with bilateral economic cooperation, Japanese government sources said.

The fields are all closely related to policy tasks to which U.S. President Joe Biden’s administration attaches importance.

The establishment of the working groups is being considered in order to bolster the Japan-U.S. relations, according to the sources.

Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga is scheduled to visit the United States on April 8-10.

He will meet with Biden in person on April 9, becoming the first foreign leader to do so. The session will precede a U.S.-hosted meeting on climate change among leaders of major emitter countries set for April 22.

On Thursday, Suga told a news conference that he hopes that his meeting with Biden “will lead to an even stronger Japan-U.S. alliance.”

“I want to discuss Japan-China relations, climate change and the coronavirus in a frank manner,” he continued.

The Biden administration is moving to strengthen ties with Japan and other countries in the Indo-Pacific region in response to China’s growing assertiveness.

Envisioning the establishment of safe supply chains, the administration aims to exclude China from the distribution networks of key products, such as semiconductors, and the 5G ultrafast communications network.

Washington finds it difficult to increase its economic presence in the region because it is cautious about returning to the Trans-Pacific Partnership free trade agreement.

In view of that, Japan will work with the United States to consider how to improve their cooperation, according to the sources.

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